Have you ever wondered why air dusters aren’t accessible to people of all ages? Many young people walk into a supermarket only to find that they aren’t allowed to buy an air duster. If you’ve ever been in that situation, you must’ve wondered how old you need to be to buy an air duster.
And in case you’re asking, an air duster is more or less a form of an aerosol. It is a can of compressed air that is used to remove dirt and dust from hidden spots and hard-to-reach areas, like the lines between the keys on a keyboard set, piano, and other difficult spots.
They are also used to clean objects that can’t be cleaned with liquids like water.
An air duster is also sometimes called compressed air or dusting spray. However, for the purpose of accuracy, we’ll stick to air dusters because even items such as inflated balloons or balls contain compressed air.
An air duster or dusting spray, on the other hand, is most likely a fluorinated or chlorinated hydrocarbon.
The danger here is that some people abuse air dusters by inhaling the gas to get a “high”, euphoric feeling, and this can be dangerous, leading to severe side effects and even death. So, how old do you have to be to buy an air duster?
How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy Air Duster?
18, in most places. Most, if not all, cities in the United States require you to show an ID before you can buy an inhalant like an air duster. The reason for this is the toxicity of air dusters.
By inhaling the gas, oxygen is displaced in the lungs, while carbon dioxide is removed from the blood, leading to hypoxia. Although this gives the feeling of euphoria, it is mostly an illusion.
The real effect is immense damage to your health. In fact, air dusters can be more deadly than some illicit drugs.
Euphoria, drowsiness, relaxation, and intoxication are just one side of the coin. Inhaling air dusters can cause serious hallucinations and cloud your thinking and your judgment because it hampers the movement of oxygen to your brain.
Some other long-term effects include hearing loss, addiction and dependence, bone marrow damage, and developmental and behavioral problems.
Also, it can result in organ damage, psychological problems, and damage to the central nervous system. Worse still, inhaling air dusters can lead to Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome (SSDS).
The SSDS occurs when air duster gas causes the heart to beat too quickly and erratically, resulting in a heart attack. This is very common among first-timers. This is the reason most states in the United States have placed age restrictions on access to air dusters.
As of June 2022, 38 states in the US had laws in place that make it illegal for people under age 18 to buy certain inhalants, including air dusters.
In some of these states and others, you have to be carded, meaning you must say what you’re buying them for, show an ID and may even have the purchase recorded. Many others have laws about having inhalants in your possession.
In 2010, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that more than 790,000 Americans aged 12 and above were first-time users of inhalants that year. About 70% of them were between 12 and 18 years old.
A 2020 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 0.9% of people aged 12 and above had used inhalants in the previous 12 months; that’s about 2.4 million people.
Among young students, a 2021 study found that 4.8% of 8th graders, 2% of 10th graders, and about 1.8% of 12th graders had used inhalants in the previous year.
The last updated State-by-State laws regarding the use of inhalants by the NCSL can be found on the cga.ct.gov website.
Do You Have to Be 18 To Buy an Air Duster?
Yes, you do. Many states in the US, 38 at the last count, require you to be at least 18 before you can buy an air duster. Here, it doesn’t even matter what you intend to use the duster for.
In some states, those found distributing it or using it for huffing or inhaling are liable to fines and/or jail terms.
In fact, all states with such laws outlaw the use of air dusters as inhalants for the purpose of intoxication, except for Arizona, Illinois and Idaho which only apply these laws to minors younger than 18.
Based on the above, you do not need to be 21 before you can buy an air duster as most laws specify the age of 18.
However, even at 21, some states require that you’re documented after presenting an ID, and the purpose for which you’re buying the aerosol is clearly stated because abuse of inhalants like air dusters is largely prohibited across many states.
Do You Need an ID To Buy an Air Duster?
If you are, or you look, younger than 18, you’ll probably be asked for an ID in virtually all states in the US to buy an air duster.
In a few states, you’ll be asked for an ID for record purposes even if you’re older than 18. It basically depends on how old you are and where you live.
Whether you call it canned air, compressed air, air duster, or dusting spray, it may surprise you to find that there are age restrictions for purchasing it in your city. You shouldn’t feel bad, however, you’re not being victimized or singled out, your local store is probably just following state laws.
Besides, the aim is to prevent illicit abuse of inhalants like air dusters due to their fatal effect on one’s health, their mind-altering power, and their deadly nature.
Many people, including first-time users, have died as a result of air duster inhalation and your state may just be looking out for you with such laws.